Author:Valdimar Tr. Hafstein (University of Iceland)
Paper short abstract:
UNESCO’s ICH program is an aspect of the broader infusion of folkloristic/ethnological perspectives and concepts into the public sphere. It brings to light what arguably has always been the objective of our fields: to change the way people look at their own culture and the way they practice it.
Paper long abstract:
Considering the relationship between SIEF and UNESCO’s work on ICH, I will argue that the current heritagization of social practices – for which UNESCO’s ICH program is the standard-bearer – is one aspect of the broader infusion of folkloristic/ethnological knowledge, perspectives, and concepts into the public sphere as part of modernity’s reflexivity. Aptly named “folklorization” (a concept we may consider appropriating from authenticity discourses) this process brings to light what in effect has always been the ultimate objective of our fields of knowledge: to change the way people look at their own culture, the way they define it, the way they feel about it, and the way they practice it. In this context, the SIEF/UNESCO relation is a perfect foil for discussing the relationship between research and practice in the fields of ethnology and folklore. Indeed, one way to consider the ICH program is as an aspect of the history of the discipline(s).
UNESCO and entanglements of intangible cultural heritage [SIEF Working Group on Cultural Heritage and Property] [R]